Saturday, 25 August 2012

London Wedding Spot - William Clarke Flowers

Being the least green-fingered member of my family, I think even my mother (who's a proud member of the Royal Horticultural Society and knows her dahlias from her delphiniums) would be proud of what I achieved over at William Clarke Flowers a few weeks ago.

I mastered a hand tied bouquet. (Ok…perhaps not mastered, but I had a really good go and my mother-in-law seemed to appreciate the gift.)

When Nicola at Propose PR kindly invited me to an exclusive event to sample new workshops with the team at William Clarke Flowers, I jumped at the chance. Partly because I fancied attempting a little bouquet-making
(and had a rare few hours to myself) but mainly because I wanted to do a little research for the blog.

The workshops offered by William, Brian and Helen are the type that won't mortify your mum, bore your aunty to death or leave some of your friends wondering if they really knew you that well after all. In fact, the workshops on offer truly cater for everyone. The team are genuinely good fun so you'll certainly have a laugh and leave feeling like you actually spent quality time with your closest girls, doing something worthwhile. I spent my workshop with Anna of Far from the Wedding Crowd and Emma from Wedding Magazine and even though we'd never met before, we still had lots of fun and enjoyed the session.

It's not just hen parties they cater for but even brides who want to hone their own floral skills before attempting their wedding DIY projects. There are also longer courses in the A-Z of Floristry and seasonal courses where you can find out how to make that perfect Christmas wreath for your front door or a table top arrangement to make your front room look worthy of a feature in Elle's Home Decoration magazine.

The day started just the way it should, sipping champagne and eating gorgeous homemade canapés. The Pimms being poured for us came in what can only be described as small vases and the chocolate fridge cake offered throughout was honestly the best I'd ever tasted. (Turns out William has a few additional skills up his sleeve!) The WCF team certainly know how to entertain.

It's not surprising that the workshop included all of these welcoming elements, William has been around weddings his whole life. His love of floristry dating back to his childhood and his extensive hotelier background means that his understanding of weddings goes beyond that of other florists.  He says: “At William Clark Flowers, we offer a truly bespoke service for our couples. For me, that goes further than just recreating a picture from a magazine. We really get to know our couples, their personalities, their tastes and, rather than following trends, we make each arrangement reflect the couple we’re looking after.”

During the workshop, we got to watch a series of demonstrations showing us ways that table arrangements could be presented and how varying budgets can be catered for. Williams and his team never lower the quality or quantity of the flowers they use - when working out prices for different brides - they are creative in the way flowers are displayed and I picked up some great tips.

After the demonstrations, we moved straight onto the main part of the workshop...mastering that hand-tied bouquet.

Watching Brian effortlessly create a bouquet filled me with confidence. He carefully explained the process step-by-step. Showing us with clear instructions, the spiralling technique. Once I got my hands on those stems, I soon realised that this spiralling business is not as easy as it looks! Little tips for getting the perfect bouquet were shared and the team were on hand throughout to help guide us and top up the bubbly. We found out some industry secrets, heard great stories about their journey to becoming leading floral designers and laughed lots along the way. (And also ate an obscene amount of chocolate fridge cake...not that I'm complaining!)

Considering that this was the first time most of us had put a bouquet together, I don't think we did a bad job. (I'll leave you to decide!) 

So if you're a bridesmaid looking for a different type of hen party or a bride wanting some advice and practical help to style and design her wedding flowers, William Clarke Flowers in Battersea is where you should head. 

To find out more, you can visit them on their website here.

Alternatively, check out their Facebook page and give a little shout to them over on Twitter.

I've already decided that I'm going to go back and do another one soon, perhaps with mum in tow. I quite fancy getting all Christmas with my florals. (But if I'm honest, it's also because I secretly hope I'll get some of Williams chocolate fridge cake again.)

Much love,

Samantha x


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